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Luxury manufacturer Vertu returns with Aster P smartphones

Luxury manufacturer Vertu returns with Aster P smartphones


Leather-backed phones made by hand in England

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Image: Vertu

Vertu, a phone manufacturer that specializes in producing luxurious handmade smartphones that end up costing thousands of dollars, is back. At a launch party in Beijing, GSMArena reports that the company announced a new pair of handsets: the Aster P Baroque and Aster P Gothic. The company was forced to shut down its UK manufacturing business last year in the face of £128 million worth of debt, at which point its owner, Murat Hakan Uzan, was reportedly planning a resurrection of the brand.

The Aster P range continues the brand’s reputation for pairing ostentatious designs with modest specs and selling the resulting models for thousands. The phones feature a titanium alloy frame, a real leather finish on the back, and a gull-wing door-style rear panel that opens to reveal your SIM card slot. Naturally, they’re still advertised as being “Made in the U.K.”

Internally you’ll find fewer luxuries. The phones have a midrange Snapdragon 660 processor, a 3,200mAh battery, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There’s a 12MP camera on the rear, a 20MP selfie camera, and it has a 4.97-inch 1080p screen.

For reference, those are very similar internals to the BlackBerry Key2 which retails for $649. Meanwhile, the Aster P range starts at CNY29,800 (around $4,200) and goes all the way up to CNY98,000 (around $14,120.82). Last year, we called the Vertu Constellation “another phone for the rich and tasteless,” and it looks like little has changed here.

Vertu has been around in one form or another for 20 years after Nokia launched it as a luxury subsidiary. Over the years, the brand has been passed from owner to owner, including a private equity group in 2012 and a holding company in 2015, before finding a home with its current Turkish owners in 2017 shortly before its bankruptcy.  

The Aster P phones are available to preorder now exclusively in China.